Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Announcing the winners of The Win a Doula GIVEAWAY!!! Woohoo!

First off... I cannot BEGIN to express how hard it was for me to choose the winners of the doula giveaway. Every single woman deserves a supported birth and those of you who did not win, I still encourage you to seek the support!

And the WINNERS are....
*drum roll*

Rebecca Lane & Jenelle Walter

Rebecca Lane- I would love a doula for the birth of my baby due Feb 27th. We are working hard to find a way to afford one. My pregnancy has been a mix of fear and blessings. I have a wonderful 7 year old daughter and I lost a son (born too early due to a placenta abruption) in 2008. I am very excited to be pregnant this time and it was a huge step for me to try again. I was given the green light by specialist to "try again" and was able to conceive. I found a midwife and was so excited to have my first home birth and I loved my midwife. I was considered low risk despite my loss and a mild bleeding disorder. Everything was going great until 20 weeks we were diagnosed with Oligiohydraminos and began the spiral of medical expenses and doctors. I had to stop the plan of a midwife and begin appts with an OB and a Fetal Maternal Specialist. ALL of my free money (plus money I don't have) goes to co-pays, doctors visits, specialist visits and now since January is coming my $600 deductible is due. Just last month we had to pay an extra $1,000 to my doctor's visits and copays (in addition to our normal living expenses). My husband and I both work full time and he is doing everything in his power to make more money and he is doing great, but every dime goes to the doctors and specialist. At this point, I fear I can't even buy Christmas. I want so bad to have as close to a home birth as possible in the hospital and I know the only way I can is with a doula. I have been praying for a way to not only afford all my medical, a doula, but to even be able to buy the things I need for our baby due soon. So far, we have nothing. We could be giving birth in as early as 6 weeks from now. The Specialist is talking about needing to induce me so he can do an amnio-infusion to cushion the cord to help prevent a still birth and that me going into natural labor is dangerous. I have met with a doula and want one so bad and know how beneficial they are. I know that being induced is much more painful than naturally going into labor and I am scared of managing the pain myself. I am a huge advocate for natural childbirth and breastfeeding. It would be a dream come true to find an answer to afford one. I am keeping faith that no matter what, her needs will be met and we will be fine.  I may not be the best choice for this gift and I pray it goes to whoever really needs it the most. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for this amazing gift!!

Jenelle Walter-   My first son was born 4 years ago via C-section. 2 years later, we became pregnant and knew we wanted a hands off VBAC. We ended up losing our second son at 20 weeks gestation due to issues with the placenta. We were devastated and had decided that we didn't want more children. Then to our surprise, I became pregnant with this child. I hired a midwife and planned on giving birth to him in a freestanding birth center with a doula and my immediate family present. We have recently learned that our third son will be born with a congenital heart defect known as tetralogy of fallot, meaning not only will I have to deliver in the hospital but also a state away closer to the nearest children's hospital. (Seattle Childrens.) If that wasn't enough, soon after the diagnosis, my husband left us. I am still wanting to push as hard as I can for a natural labor for among other reasons, the reality that our son may likely be whisked away to the NICU and even a different hospital. I would really love the option to follow close behind. I have the support of family, but would prefer to use those resources to help with my 4 year old. I can no longer afford a doula due to the divorce and my inability to find work at 28 wks pregnant after being a SAHM, but feel that I would benefit greatly from some support now and during labor. I hope that after my son's surgeries, I will be able to study to become a doula myself.

Both of these women have suffered loss in their previous pregnancies and both of these women have a hard delivery on their hands. Let's give these women, all the good birth vibes, support and love we can send!!
Congratulations ladies! I can't wait to watch your stories progress and help you get your doula!

<3 Cassandra

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oh to catch some Zzzz's

I really haven't forgotten about my blog, the contrary actually, I have been wanting to get on here quite a bit and share all the various things that are happening yet, finding the time seems almost impossible.
In the past few weeks we have been out of state and out of town at least 6 times, I signed up to help coordinate and be a spokes person for Improving Birth National Rally (yay!), I have designed a few new pieces, created over 15 custom orders on top of creating at least 10 made to order trees, all while keeping up with my home responsibilities. Between all the emails, letters, orders, kids and cleaning my blog took the back burner.

My blog is not the only thing that seems to be sitting on the back burner, I don't think that I have taken enough time for myself in the last 3 weeks at least. I did get my hair cut....while nursing a fussy baby under my cape...Everyday I feel exhausted and my house and health are taking the toll.
1. I know I need to drink more
2. I know I need to eat more
3. I know I need to sleep more
4. I need to take time to breathe.

Right now I am lucky, A.L. is sleeping and A.S. is watching is a rarity that my four year old sit and watch anything....I am enjoying my 18 minutes of peace.

I definitely don't want to get burnt out, so I decided that I am going to take a vacation in August. For one week, no internet, no facebook, no T.V.....just me and my family. I plan to work on new pieces, go on a few hikes, maybe a massage, just a little time to catch some R&R. I wish I could have some other momma's join me, I know I am not the only one who needs it!!! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Here's the "Giveaway" Scoop

SO the month of July is going to be full of giveaways, one almost every week of the month. Not just a little thing here and there....these giveaways are going to be big! So, to get to the good part.... What is Home Baby Crafts giving away?

*Drum roll please*

Week One (7/9-7/16)- For the Mommas- 
-1 Mother child Pendant (Customizable to include your children's birthstones)

-1 $10 Starbucks giftcard, for when you sneak in that get away or just need a coffee break.

-1 Handmade Cold pressed soap and Bath Bomb, Handmade by Stephanie of Cable Avenue Co. in a beautiful Apple   Blossom Scent. ( This is my absolute favorite soap, my skin has never felt or smelt so good!) I mean what momma doesn't enjoy a nice hot bath and soaking away the pressures of the day? Ahhh....

-$20 in free prints, promotional card from Shutterfly, print off some pictures of your adorable children!

-1 50% off coupon on any Home Baby Crafts item or custom order.

Oh yeah!!!!!

Week Two- (7/16-7/23)- Doulas ONLY!
- Doula Abstract Pendant <3

-1 copy of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (paperback) to include in her lending library.

-A free 30 minute massage from a local massage clinic to use in the month of August (Value up to $50)
       -The winning doula will pick the facility and I will take care of the rest!-

-1 50% off coupon on any Home Baby Crafts item or custom order.

Doulas are always comforting mommas and I figured they deserved a little TLC back!

Week Three- (7/23-7/30)- Midwives ONLY!

-1  Midwife Abstract Pendant

-1 Handmade Scale Sling for weighing those cute bundles of joy! (yes, made by me) :D

-A free 30 minute massage from a local massage clinic to use in the month of August (Value up to $50)
       -The winning midwife will pick the facility and I will take care of the rest!-

- Framed Natural Mother Birth Art. Who doesn't love awesome office decor? (...and yes another gift made by me!)

-1 50% off coupon on any Home Baby Crafts item or custom order.

Shew! That's a lot of giveaway!! I can't wait to get them rolling! I plan on using rafflecopter for these giveaways so that entrants can earn as many entries as they want! All I ask in return is a little "linky" love to my FB page. <3

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ring Tutorial- Easy, Solitaire, Flower Blossom Ring

This tutorial is for a easy, elegant flower blossom ring.
I love how easy this ring is to make. It is dainty, elegant, and so pretty, yet it uses hardly any supplies! A 3" headpin can make up to a size 8 ring. If you need a bigger size, you can use wire with a flattened end.

Supplies needed- 
-1, 3" Long Headpin
-1, 6mm Rondelle
-1, 10mm Filigree (or Leafy) StyleBead Cap
-Wire snips
- Chain nose pliers

I'm using  a 6mm, Topaz  crystal rondelle, a 10mm Blue Moon Beads "Frosted" silver bead cap
and a silver plated 3" headpin.

Let's Get Started!
First string your bead onto your headpin.
Then string on your bead cap, facing it towards your bead.
It looks like a pretty flower!
With the smallest edge of your chain nose pliers, grip the bottom of the "flower". 
Get as close to the "flower" as you can. 
Make a 90° angle. This creates our base.
Place the ring on the mandrel according to the size you need and wrap the pin around the mandrel.
Pull your ring off your mandrel and you will have the basic shape. 
While maintaining your shape, bend your tail around the base.
Using your chain nose pliers continue wrapping the tail up towards the bottom of the "flower" until the bead and cap are secured tightly.
Give the tail (if there is one) a snip.
Press in the clipped edge with your pliers.
Place the ring back on the mandrel and stretch it slightly so that it holds a firm shape and is perfectly round.
And you are finished! You made your own Flower Blossom Ring!
Aren't they Pretty!
Hope you enjoyed your project!
See ya next Friday when we make a...
Native American Dream Catcher Pendant

<3 Cassandra

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Earring Tutorial- Simple, Stunning, Dangle Earrings

This tutorial is for a simple and elegant, dangle earrings.
So lets get started!
Supplies needed- 
-2 Headpins
-6" 22 Gauge Wire
-2 Earring Hooks
-6 Beads, Various Sizes
-Optional Bead Caps
-Wire snips
- Chain nose pliers
-Round nose pliers
(I'm using 6mm cream faceted glass druks, 6mm turquoise druks, 4mm cream Swarvorski crystals, with bight brass wire, and findings.)
To Begin take your "optional" bead cap and the largest bead and string them onto the headpin.
Place your pliers on top of the bead,
Bend the wire around the pliers.
Turn the pliers a bit and continue to wrap the wire to create a loop.
Bend the loop straight.
Give it a snip.
Repeat with the matching bead, so you have two.
To form the second bead link take your length of wire and make a 45 degree angle about 1/2" in.
Wrap the small tail around the tip of the pliers.
Give it a snip and you have a loop!
String on your second bead.
Bend the wire length to the side and wrap it around the pliers to make a top loop.
Give it a snip and repeat with your second bead.
For the final bead, start it the same what you did your second, by making a loop and placing the bead on the wire.
This time instead of bending the wire towards the side, we'll bend it to the front so it lays right on the hook.
Wrap it around the pliers to make a loop.
Now to put our pieces together!
Take your bottom bead and open it's loop.
 Place on your middle bead and and squeeze it closed.
Open your next bead link loop, and add the last bead link then squeeze it closed.
Add the earring hook in the same fashion and you have a finished earring! Repeat with the other beads.
Once done, admire your finished earrings!
Hope you all enjoy and good luck on your project!
Next Week''s Project-
Easy, Solitaire Flower Blossom Ring

<3 Cassandra

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Parenting Methods...Everybody's Got One!

Pregnancy and birth....the joyous occasion in which we bring into the world a new life. A new life and all the responsibility of caring for, nurturing, and teaching this little person to become a functioning, independent individual and  member of society. But how? How, you might ask, do you get this outcome....

If you're anything like me you have read dozens of parenting books, all describing various methods that are supposed to help your child develop into the well rounded individual that you dream they will be. Yet in their differences, there are a few things consistent with all of these "methods".

The first being... None of these tried and true parenting methods are the same and many of them are conflicting but they all have "evidence" to back them up. They claim to be the standard of parenting with dozens of success stories and mothers who "swear by" them. Almost all have fancy psychologists that explain why that method works above all others and many claim that their method is how every other family in the world parents, there seems to be a general consensus that American parents and our current society totally lack and fail. Damn.

The second consistency? If the method is not working, it's not the method, it's your failure to execute the method properly or you haven't waited long enough for it to work. Is that frustrating or what? 

The third and most irritating consistency? Is what I call the "high horse" parent club. Each method seems to house a group of parents that develop the logic that, all other parents who do not parent in the same fashion are ignorant and uninformed, and every one should be concerned for the welfare of the children under those "other" parenting conditions. Really?

What's my take on all this? I can't tell you which parenting method is more "right"....Parenting methods are just that...methods. Particular procedures in accomplishing a goal. Ideas to meet that goal. There is one other consistency I forgot to mention, and that is that not one of these methods are 100% fail proof and none of them come with a "Just turn back time and try again!" guarantee. 

As parents we do the best we can, with the best of intentions for our children. Most parents do not go into parenting with the goal of being a "bad parent". No parent is perfect or all knowing, and what works for some may not work for others. You know what? That's okay. Ultimately, no matter what method we use raise our children, during good times and bad, through hard work and suffering, in the end it will be up to them, the children, to decide to become the person they were destined to be. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Oh How I long....

I love art. I love making trees. It's fun, enjoyable, and cool to know that others are wearing my pieces yet, I want so much more. I want to be a midwife... BUT... it's just not my time. I have 2 young children and plan on having more in the upcoming years. 
I long so badly though, to be with birthing women as their midwife. I have so much love and so much compassion and I just want to pour it out to every pregnant woman I see. I want to make sure she is safe, loved, and cared for. Even if it is something as humble as cleaning up, getting a glass of water, holding a hand...I want so badly to give to women. Love. I believe how a woman feels at her birth can affect her in many ways, I know mine did.

To me a midwife is a guardian of birth. She protects the mother and child and encourages them as they work together. She stays back, low in profile so that the mother can focus but close enough that all her needs can be met. She watches carefully ensuring all is well. Her love is so strong that it radiates through everything. Then at that joyous moment when the new life makes its way earth side she can share in the joy, the success, the victory, all while keeping a close eye...or in that slim chance when things don't always go as planned she can be a trusted rock of comfort in scary situations. Why because of love
Could there be a more fulfilling profession?

I think it is impossible to be a good midwife if you can't fully open your heart and love birthing women.

Elephants understand this need. When a female is birthing, they all stand around her, guarding her from harm and occasionally sounding out encouragement. When her work is done they all shout out with love and joy and greet the new life and comfort the mother. Elephants understand the need for love and guardianship. 

I love my children and in no way to I want to rush their growing, but until they are a bit older I'm left to give in other ways, longing for the day that I can serve women and humbly call myself a midwife.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bracelet Tutorial- How to Create an Interlocked Wire-Wrapped Bracelet

This tutorial is for a basic interlocked wire-wrapped bracelet.
I absolutely love the durability of this bracelet. The interlocked bead links make it tough. This style is dainty but strong and makes a good anklet.
So lets get started!
Supplies needed- 
-About 2ft, 24 Gauge wire
-About 12-18 Beads depending on size and style.
-1 Clasp
-Wire snips
- Chain nose pliers
-Round nose pliers
(I'm using 4mm raspberry aventurine, 4mm Fresh water pearls, 4mm green Czech fired rondelles,  4mm taupe Czech glass rondelles, Vintage brass wire, and findings.)

Because this is a two handed project, pictures were hard to do so I created a video instead.
Here's how to start the bracelet and create the bead links

Continue with the technique shown in the video creating and interlocking each link.
Add more....
And more....
And more links until you finally reach your desired length, my bracelet is about 7 1/2" long.
For the last link, instead of closing it off like the rest, just simply slide on the other clasp piece before twisting it closed.
And there you have it! A gorgeous bracelet that is dainty, yet strong. You can use any color or style of beads, any wire and clasp. This design has endless possible outcomes!
Hope you all enjoy and good luck on your project!
Next Week''s Project-
Simple, Stunning, Dangle Earrings

<3 Cassandra